Fatal crash draws calls for flashing lights at Forest Road and London Line


Heather Wright/The Independent

“Three lives have been lost since I’ve lived here; what’s a life worth?”
That was Plympton-Wyoming resident Garth Smith’s question after helping at the scene of yet another accident at the corner of Forest Road and London Line.
Sunday afternoon around 5 pm, a van and a Buick collided at the corner of Forest Road and London Line. The OPP, paramedics and the Warwick Fire Department were called to the scene to help.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver was transported to the Petrolia hospital with what police say are non-life threatening injuries.
Police by Tuesday afternoon had not identified the man who died, however Smith says it was Bob Hollingsworth of Watford who was killed at the scene.
Smith says his daughter and her boyfriend were in the garden of his London Line home when they heard the crash of metal against metal. He ran to the car and was devastated by what he saw.
He then stopped others arriving at the scene before police and fire responded saying “You don’t want to see this,” according to Smith.
“I’ve worked at a jail and I don’t think I’ve seen anything this bad,” says Smith who also went to the site to help.
After the accident was cleaned up Sunday night, the people who were among the first on the scene were trying to absorb what had happened.
Smith’s daughter’s boyfriend has been having a hard time sleeping and hasn’t been able to go back to work yet.
And Smith is frustrated. This isn’t the first accident at the corner since he’s lived there.
He says three people have now been killed at the corner in the last 10 or 15 years. And he says it’s time Lambton County did something to improve the intersection.
Smith says several years ago, the road was repaved and rumble strips at the corner were removed.
He says neighbours had complained about the noise as traffic approached the corner.
But the retired correction worker says something more must be done now to alert drivers of the coming stop sign. He is suggesting a sign before the intersection warning of the coming stop sign and a flashing light above the sign to “give people two chances” to see the sign.
“They should have done this years ago.”
Jason Cole, the general manager of infrastructure at the county, says when there are fatal accidents, the county does look at the intersection, using the police report to figure out how design might have played into the accident, particularly if there had been more than one collision over a number of years.
That will be done at this corner as well.
Cole says sometimes there is nothing that improved road design could have done to prevent a collision.
But he says if the county found there was more that could be done, the most likely next step at the Forest Road/London Line corner would be flashing lights on the sign.
And Cole says increasingly, local politicians are concerned about the amount of traffic deaths at higher traffic rural corners and they’re considering roundabouts as a viable option to help reduce the rate of accidents in the county.